|“||Think on your sins.||„|
|~ Silva's message to M.|
|“||Hello, James. Welcome. Do you like the island? My grandmother had an island. Nothing to boast of. You could walk around it in an hour. But still, it was, it was a paradise for us. One summer, we went for a visit and discovered the place had been infested with rats! They'd come on a fishing boat and gorged themselves on coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried an oil drum and hinged the lid, then wired coconut to the lid as bait. And the rats would come for the coconut and... they would fall into the drum. And after a month, you have trapped all the rats. But what do you do then? Throw the drum into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it. And they begin to get hungry. And one by one... they start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees. But now they don't eat coconut anymore. Now they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors, this is what she made us.||„|
|~ Silva's "Last Two Rats" monologue|
He is a powerful cyber-terrorist who was once an MI6 agent but was betrayed by M when she turned him over to the Chinese government in 1997 during a mission in Hong Kong. Fifteen years later, he commits a series of terrorist attacks as part of a larger plan to publicly discredit and kill her.
He was portrayed by the Academy Award-winning actor Javier Bardem, who also played Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Felix Marti in The Gunman, Felix Reyes-Torrena in Collateral, Armando Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Him in mother!.
Tiago Rodriguez was once an agent of MI6, working under M when she was the head of Station H in Hong Kong, specializing in cyberterrorism. During his first meeting with Bond, he recounts a story from his childhood: his grandmother owned a small island, which he and his family would visit every summer. During one such visit, they discovered that the island had become infested with rats that fed off the coconuts that grew there. To deal with them, his grandmother captured them all in an oil drum, which was then sealed to prevent them from escaping. When they reopened the drum time some time later, they discovered that the rats had resorted to cannibalism in order to survive, until only two remained; instead of exterminating them, his grandmother released the surviving two rats, only now they would no longer eat coconut and would only eat rat. Rodriguez uses this story as a metaphor describing what M turned himself and Bond into.
In the time leading up to the Handover of Hong Kong, Rodriguez began acting beyond his professional duties as an agent, hacking into Chinese Intelligence without authorization. With the Chinese closing on to him, M turned him over to them in exchange for six other previously captured agents and a peaceful transfer of sovereignty. For the next five months, Rodriguez was brutally tortured "in a room with no air", but he refused to divulge any state secrets. Upon learning it was M who gave him up, he tried to commit suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule. Rather than kill him, the cyanide left him disfigured, with a collapsed left cheek and rotting teeth (he would later disguise his disfigurement with a dental prosthetic). Rodriguez blamed M for his misfortune and swore revenge.
Silva has Patrice steal a flash drive with the names and locations of several undercover N.A.T.O. agents on it and publish this information on the Internet, resulting in the deaths of several of these agents when the terrorist groups they are planted in learn of their identities. He then sends M a taunting message before destroying MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, killing dozens of agents. M orders Bond to find the person responsible, sending him to Shanghai. After killing Patrice, Bond meets with Sévérine, who agrees to take him to her boss.
Upon travelling to Silva's island (thanks to the Boat Captain), Bond is captured and meets with Silva himself. Silva at first tries to intimidate Bond by making a disturbing and quasi-sexual advances toward him. When that doesn't work, Silva appeals to Bond's resentment of M, who left him for dead during an earlier mission, and offers to bring him into the cyber-terrorism operation. Bond refuses, however, so Silva leads him outside and challenges him to a game of William Tell (as a way of having Bond to regain his marksmanship scores), using Sévérine as the target. Bond deliberately misses, after which Silva shoots Sévérine square in the face, killing her. Soon after, Bond incapacitate and kill all of his henchmen, which prevented Silva to retaliate after using up all the bullets in the game of William Tell and with Bond holding the latter at gunpoint. Using the distress beacon given to him by Q which he activate it in secret while on board the yacht upon arriving to the island, Bond is able to call for reinforcements (with a fleet of helicopters arriving at the island) and have Silva captured to be brought to England.
However, it turns out that Silva had planned to be captured in order to get to M, and then escapes when a virus from his laptop infects MI6's defense system as Q attempts to decrypt it and retrieve the list. The virus opens all electronically locked doors in the base, including the door to Silva's cell, which enabled his release from his cell and killing the guards that was watching and guarding his cell, offscreen (as evidenced by the dead lying M16 guards' carcasses). Escaping into the London Underground through the floor grate of the M16's, he disguises himself as a Metropolitan Police officer as Bond pursues him. Silva attempts to kill Bond by sending a subway train off its tracks onto him, but Bond survives and continues pursuing him.
Meeting up with more of his men, who are also disguised as Metropolitan policemen while also killing three Metropolitan Police officers guarding the entrance of the courthouse building, Silva travels to M's public enquiry, where he intends to publicly execute her. Bursting into the courtroom, Silva and his henchmen manage to kill the surrounding Metropolitan policemen, M's bodyguards as well as several MI6 officials, inquiry members, parliamentary ministers, and journalists present at the public inquiry, but before Silva can kill her, Gareth Mallory pushes her out of the way and takes a bullet in the shoulder being meant for her. At the moment, Bond appears at the scene, and he, Eve Moneypenny and Mallory provided cover as they return fire against Silva and his henchmen, which resulted to the rest of Silva's remaining henchmen being killed in the process. Bond then shoots two nearby fire extinguishers, creating a smokescreen that allows him and his allies to escort M to safety, with Mallory and Eve Moneypenny evacuating the remaining and surviving MI6 officials, inquiry members, parliamentary ministers, and journalists out of the courthouse building while Silva leaves in disgust with his remaining and surviving henchmen (but not before killing a hiding parliamentary minister) after unable to kill M.
Tired of Silva being one step ahead of them, Bond devises a plan to lead him and his henchmen into a trap. He has Q set up an electronic trail that only Silva can follow, while he drives M (using her as a bait) to his ancestral home in Scotland, the eponymous Skyfall Lodge. After meeting the estate's gamekeeper, Kincade, the trio prepare for Silva's inevitable attack by setting up various boobytraps around the house, despite being lightly armed, given that Kincade had sold off all the guns to a collector, with exception of Bond's late father's old hunting rifle and old combat knife being held in custody by Kincade, and with a stick of dynamites. Sure enough, Silva's first wave of his henchmen descends upon the Skyfall estate and opens fire; although M is mortally wounded on the hip by a stray shot fired by one of Silva's henchmen (with the former M attempting to shoot) during the first wave of assault. Silva himself soon arrives with the second wave of his henchmen in a helicopter gunship, laying waste to the lodge before Bond destroys it in a gigantic fireball explosion (of which he retaliates after seeing his Aston Martin being destroyed at the hands of Silva, much of Silva's sadistic delight and Bond's anger; through lighting a match onto the fuse of a dynamite being placed onto a pair of explosive gas tanks and timing it to explode), which resulted to the killing and incineration of majority of Silva's henchmen that was circling the lodge and those that were manning inside the helicopter gunship, which also got caught in the explosion and causing the helicopter to crash onto the lodge, creating a further chain-reaction explosion and adding further causalities to Silva's remaining henchmen, of which Silva looked in horror but not before having Silva and his two remaining surviving henchmen being temporarily shocked and knocked out by the blast, in the process. Upon getting up on his feet and seeing the blazing wreckage onto the lodge and upon noticing Kincade's flashlight within the distance, with the latter escorting a wounded M towards the estate's chapel, a crazed and determined Silva begins in pursuit after them, but not before ordering his two remaining surviving henchmen to kill Bond to prevent the latter from pursuing him, of which his henchmen are unable to do upon being killed one by one, by Bond himself.
Upon arriving at the chapel, where he confronts a wounded M and fires a warning shot at the jamb of the side-room of the chapel, holding Kincade at a gunpoint, warning the latter of not to interfere, while Silva notices M's wounds with a sadistic curiosity. He then places a gun into M's hand, presses it towards his temple, presses her head against his and begs her to pull the trigger and kill them both. At that moment, however, Bond comes up from behind Silva and throws Bond's old combat knife (that originated from Bond's late father) into Silva's back, fatally wounding him, with the latter screaming in agonizing pain, before losing consciousness and ends up laying dead at Bond's feet. M dies moments later onto Bond's arms, upon succumbing to her earlier wounds.
In Spectre, it is revealed that Silva, along with Le Chiffre and Dominic Greene, were affiliated with the crime syndicate SPECTRE led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It also turns out that Silva was being used as a pawn alongside Le Chiffre and Greene by Blofeld to further his vendetta against Bond.
Despite his chaotic methods, Silva maintains an air of calm and often handles things with ease - even after Bond killed his men, and being held at gunpoint by the latter, Silva remained completely reserved and even managed to mock him. He was charismatic and very strategic, thinking out all of his plans in full detail and trying not to leave anything to chance, or else was very good at improvising. Silva was also brilliant, able not only to outsmart M, but Q and Bond as well, even going so far to use them as part of his plan. Even M, who has always been critical of Bond, described Silva as 'a brilliant agent'. He was also sexually ambiguous; he had a female lover and also made strong overtures toward Bond, though whether he actually meant it and was actually gay or bisexual, or was simply doing this to mess with Bond, is left open to interpretation.
Though Silva maintained an intensely strong hatred towards M, he is also conflicted about her. He was convinced that he had survived to "look into [her] eyes one last time". During their confrontation in the MI6 cell room where he is held after his initial capture, he grew increasingly more agitated and deranged as she refused to show any remorse or regret for her actions, especially when she refuses to use his real name. When he first encounters Bond, he blames M personally for compelling him towards a path that could easily kill him, quite ignoring his own willingness to do so. He calls her "Mommy" or "Mother" multiple times, and he ultimately cannot bring himself to personally kill her - to the point when he has her at the point of a gun, and can't bring himself to pull the trigger. He does have a sarcastic wit, shown constantly against James Bond during their battle of wits, even using Bond's own words against him.
It has been theorized that Silva had a borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, emotional extremes, and an unstable sense of identity. He also shows sociopathic behavior, including a laid-back reaction to dangerous or sadistic situations, a lack of compassion towards even his allies, and above all, he was particularly sadistic towards M - before blowing up MI6, he sent a computerized message mocking her, and later taunted her with unleashing names of NATO agents on YouTube to intensify the fact that she had failed.
Raoul Silva is a young, tall and a bit muscular man with long blonde hair and blue eyes; both are probably not natural. He wears a prosthetic upper jaw to conceal the damage done by the failed cyanide capsule; without it, his left cheek collapses, causing his lower eyelid to droop as well, and he is left with only a few stubs of teeth which are grey with decay (see below).
In his first appearance, he wears a cream jacket, a Prada tile print dress shirt, brown waistcoat and trousers, and brown shoes. After escaping his cell at MI6, he disguises himself as a Metropolitan police officer. In the final showdown at Skyfall, he wears all black: turtleneck, trenchcoat, trousers, and combat boots. His weapons of choice include explosives, a Glock 13, a Steyr M9-A1 (during the Skyfall assault), a helicopter gunship, a subway train, and antique flintlock dueling pistols (used to kill his lover Sévérine in a "William Tell" game he forces Bond to participate in).
|“||What is this if not betrayal? She's sending you off to me knowing you are not ready, knowing you will likely die. Mommy was very bad!||„|
|~ Silva talking to Bond about M.|
|“||If you wanted, you can pick your own secret missions as I do. Name it. Name it! Destabilize a multinational by manipulating stocks. Easy. Interrupt transmissions from a spy satellite over Kabul. Done! Hmm. Rig an election in Uganda. All to the highest bidder. (Bond: Or a gas explosion in London?) Just point-and-click.||„|
|~ Silva explaining his list of cyberterrorist deeds to Bond.|
|“||They kept me for five months, in a room with no air. They tortured me, and I protected your secrets, I protected you, but they made suffer, and suffer... and suffer. And then I realized, it was you, who betrayed me. You betrayed me, so I only have one thing left; my cyanide capsule.||„|
|~ Silva explaining his imprisonment to M.|
|“||Do you know what it does to you? Hydrogen cyanide? Look upon your work... Mother.||„|
|~ Silva to M as he reveals his disfigurement.|
|“||Do it, do it. Only you can do it, do it.||„|
|~ Silva's last words as he convincing M to kill him and before being stabbed by Bond.|
Upon the film's release, Javier Bardem received widespread acclaim from film critics, who called his Silva "a classic, menacing and cool Bond villain".
- The filmmakers of Skyfall stated they based the character in part on Heath Ledger's interpretation of The Joker in The Dark Knight; both characters are disfigured, both have bleached hair and a penchant for theatrical violence, and both are obsessed with battling a character they view as an archenemy. As an additional reference, both the Joker and Silva planned to be caught and subsequently escape as a psychological trick.
- Silva is similar to several other Bond villains:
- Alec Trevelyan from 1995's Goldeneye. Both are ex-MI6 agents and had close personal relationships with one of their co-workers (Bond for Trevelyan/M for Silva). Because of this, both are seen as "Anti-Bonds". Both seek revenge for MI6 betraying them (MI6 handing the Trevelyans and the Lienz Cossacks back to the Russians/MI6 for trading Silva over to the Chinese in order to free six captive agents). After leaving MI6 both start their own criminal operations, and major components of their plans involve computer hacking. Both have scarred faces (Part of Trevelyan's face being burned by the explosion in a Soviet chemical plant/Massive burning damage was done to Silva's face during a failed attempt at using a suicide cyanide pill that forces him to wear a brace in his mouth).
- Francisco Scaramanga from 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun. Both are of Hispanic heritage, and are presented as being Bond's equal. Both feel they share a certain special connection with Bond. Both also have island lairs near China, and have a woman in their service (Andrea Anders/Sévérine) who is fearful of them and come to have hopes that Bond can kill their employers only to have Scaramanga and Silva eventually shoot and kill them personally.
- Elektra King from 1999's The World Is Not Enough. Both are motivated by a grudge against M, who had chosen to sacrifice them for the "greater good". Both Elektra and Silva remotely set off explosions in the Vauxhall Building, the official headquarters of MI6. Elektra is particularly resentful of her father, who had consulted with M when Elektra had been kidnapped years before (M advised her father not to pay the ransom asked for, as it would be "negotiating with terrorists"). Silva sees M as a mother figure.
- Silva's appearance may have been based on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- The whiskey Silva pours out for Bond is a 50-year-old Macallen, a reference to the fact that Skyfall was released on the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No.
- Despite being the main antagonist, Silva doesn't appear onscreen until halfway through the movie.
- Silva's island was based on the real-life Japanese island of Hashima; Silva faked a leak at the island's chemical plant to cause the inhabitants to abandon it, based on the real chemical leak that caused the evacuation of the real island.
- The fallen statue on Silva's island is a reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandius", which is about time defeating a once-mighty empire. The poem M quotes from at her hearing right before Silva storms in is Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", which is about tenacity and striving forward even in the face of such decline.
- Originally, the German actor Michael Pink was supposed to play the role until Bardem replaced him. Still Pink is seen as a henchman in the battle scene at the end.
- Silva is the first Bond villain to not have an operations base destroyed.
- Daniel Craig bonded with Javier Bardem on the set over their shared love of rugby. In his youth, Craig played for Hoylake Rugby Football Club in Wirral, Merseyside. Bardem played for Club de Rugby Liceo Francés in Madrid, and even made the Spanish national team at underage level.
- His YouTube name "Vials" is an anagram of his new surname "Silva."
- Silva is ironically the first Bond villain to actually succeed in his goals, namely humiliating MI6 and killing M as revenge for abandoning him (although the latter is a posthumous victory as Bond kills him before M succumbs to her injuries).
- His first name, Raoul, is never mentioned in the film, with characters referring him to and the credits listing him as "Silva".
- Silva is the first, and so far, only main Bond villain to be killed directly by James Bond in the Daniel Craig era since Le Chiffre was executed by Mr. White, Dominic Greene was killed by an assassin from SPECTRE after being dropped off by him in the desert, and despite having the chance to kill Blofeld, he opted to let him be arrested and taken into custody instead.
- Silva is something of a rarity for the James Bond series in that, unlike the majority of the other main Bond villains, including all the other primary ones in the reboot series starring Daniel Craig so far, he is genuinely a tragic figure to some extent who was driven to revenge due to being sold out by M despite his genuine loyalty and drive to be a good, proactive agent when he was with MI6, and as a result, was tortured to the point that he was driven to a failed attempt at suicide before coming to the conclusion that getting revenge on M was all he had left to live for. Therefore, unlike most other Bond villains, who probably would have turned out the way they did regardless of their circumstances, Silva is a rare case in the franchise of someone who's turn to villainy possibly, if not probably, could have been avoided had M handled the situation differently, making him one of Bond's single most 3-dimensional, fleshed out and humanized adversaries in the whole series, rather than just another foe who's evil simply because they're a psychopath and they can be.